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The sociology of social recognition: competition in social recognition games


  • Stijn Rottiers


Evidence shows that social recognition works as a motive for many of peopleÂ’s behavior. Within sociology, a longstanding tradition has shown that this recognition motive produces social and symbolic boundaries, encompassing consumption patterns and different lifestyles, and that the need for social recognition can, for example, explain violent behavior. In this paper, I provide a conceptual framework of how social interactions are affected by the need for social recognition. A natural starting point to theorize about social interactions is Goffmanian Game Theory. However, Goffman excludes underlying motivations in his analyses. Therefore, I supplement the analysis with elements from rational choice theory; a theory that, in itself, scarcely bears attention to the internal structure of social interactions. This study results in an analytical scheme of the actors and factors that affect social recognition games. Also, it reveals the competition that is likely to occur within particular social recognition games. As a result, this framework allows a better understanding of how social recognition affects social interactions, and offers a heuristic tool for the analysis of the impact of social recognition on a variety of behavioral domains.

Suggested Citation

  • Stijn Rottiers, 2010. "The sociology of social recognition: competition in social recognition games," Working Papers 1004, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  • Handle: RePEc:hdl:wpaper:1004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Betts, Julian R, 1998. "The Impact of Educational Standards on the Level and Distribution of Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 266-275, March.
    2. Elena Arias & Catherine Dehon, 2008. "What are the factors of success at university? A case study in Belgium," Working Papers ECARES 2008_003, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Stijn Kelchtermans & Frank Verboven, 2010. "Participation and study decisions in a public system of higher education," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 355-391.
    4. Elena Arias Ortiz, 2008. "What are the Factors of Success at University? A Case Study in Belgium," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 54(2), pages 121-148, June.
    5. Costrell, Robert M, 1994. "A Simple Model of Educational Standards," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 956-971, September.
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